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Keeping the family nest after divorce

If you are one of the fortunate ones who have a respectful and workable relationship with your soon-to-be ex, you are probably able to negotiate many of the important decisions that a divorce requires. Ideally, there was minimal contention during the division of property, and you may even have a general idea of how you want the custody arrangements to unfold.

However, you may also be aware of the difficulties that can arise when children must pack up and go from one parent to the other to ensure they have equal time with both. Perhaps you remember doing this yourself as a child. While splitting weeks and alternating weekends may seem the best solution, some families have found a creative way to reduce the impact their divorce will have on their children.

Birds in their little nest agree

Rather than shuffling the children from one parent to the other, more parents are adopting the practice of nesting. Nesting is when the children remain in the family home while the parents alternate living there. Rather than your children staying with you for three days then packing off to your ex’s for the rest of the week, you would live with them at home before packing your own things and allowing your ex-spouse to stay in the home.

Those who use this method of child custody find that it provides stability for their children. Your kids will not need two sets of everything or stress over leaving a homework assignment at the wrong parent’s house. They can stay in their same schools and close to their friends. You and your ex are the ones who must adapt to the change.

Stirring up a hornet’s nest

Of course, every good plan has its drawbacks, and this one is no exception. It is likely not something that will work for a couple who can’t cooperate or respect each other’s space. On a practical level, you may have concerns about these factors and others:

  • The cost of maintaining three homes
  • The tax implications if you delay selling the home after your divorce
  • The effect that keeping the house could have on your alimony and property division matters
  • The danger of continuing the same negative patterns that led to your divorce
  • The awkwardness of the situation if you or your spouse should meet someone new

Some families find it is a good solution for the short term to allow the children to adjust to the divorce at their own pace. However, child psychologists worry that nesting may impede the grieving process that is necessary for the children, as well as for you. While you and your spouse work to find the best solution for your family, seeking professional advice may help you find the information you need to decide wisely.